Matthew Lickona 2:29 p.m., May 24
"There's a light
In the darkness
Though the night
Is black as my skin.
There's a light
Showing me the way
But I know where I've been."
At the end of Hairspray (currently at the Moonlight Amphitheatre), Motormouth Maybelle, an African-American woman who boasts she's "Big, Blonde, and Beautiful, sings "I Know Where I've Been." It's an anthem about the struggle for racial equality that many have sung since, among them Queen Latifah.
According to composer Marc Shaiman, the song created such controversy before the show hit Broadway, it was almost left out.
Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman dreamed of turning John Waters movie  into a musical long before they had the chance. So when producer Margo Lion asked if they were interested, they quickly wrote four songs on spec.: "I Know Where I've Been," "Good Morning, Baltimore" (which opens the show), "Welcome to the Sixties," and "Big, Blonde, and Beautiful." Lion loved all four and hired the duo.
"From that point on," says Shaiman, "we became the engines of the actual process of writing the show, perceiving how it should look and sound and who else to work on it" (including the Old Globe's Jack O'Brien to direct).
From the start, they wanted "I Know Where I've Been" to be Hairspray's rousing "Eleven O'Clock" number.
They never imagined that a "torrent of protest would follow us from almost everyone involved with the show."
Many wanted the musical not to be about the civil rights movement - loss of box office among their fears. Some said the song was "too sad," others, "too preachy." They wanted Tracy Turnblad (the unself-conscious star) to have the boffo number.
Shaiman and Wittman held their ground. "We simply didn't want our show to be yet another showbiz version of a civil rights story where the black characters are just background," says Shaiman. "And what could be more Tracy Turnblad-like than to give the 'eleven o'clock number' to the black family at the heart of the struggle?
"Luckily the audiences embraced this moment, which enriches the happy ending to follow...It's our proudest achievement of the entire experience of writing Hairspray."